Turn down waiting-room TVs
Is it not disquieting to go into a waiting room and be met by a blaring television, maybe even two or three? It is especially so if the room is small. Often no one will be watching, but it will still be on with an inaccessible volume control.
Why has it become a necessity for many waiting rooms to have television sets? Is it not presumptuous to assume that people want inane, noxious programming instead of quiet? Could it be unethical to inundate a trapped audience with media exposure without their choosing? It is as if the abundance of media has replaced cigarette smoke, harmful and noxious.
Patients in doctors’ waiting rooms may be anticipating a difficult procedure or dealing with unsettling news and not need to be bombarded with talk shows or marketed to. It could be a time to write a note, meditate, do a grocery list or finish a book.
It is interesting that many waiting rooms of older MDs do not have TVs and the atmosphere is peaceful. We live in such a noisy environment that quiet for many is uncomfortable. It is a sad state of our culture. Growing up in the country one enjoys and appreciates myriad sounds of nature without unwanted noise. As an audiologist I am also very conscious of loudness levels and how they can interfere with listening.
Kudos to those who plan waiting rooms without television. If we let people know how unwanted it is, they may at least turn it off for most of the day or substitute it with some classical music.
Peggy G. Wiseman
Isle of Palms